As a classroom teacher, I am always on the lookout for new teaching tools. However, sometimes having numerous resources to sort through is overwhelming. That is why I like the idea of curation. It’s a more focused manner of collecting items or resources to present without compiling endless lists for the user to sort through. Valenza (2017) directly addresses this as she writes that curation is “about saving teachers instructional time.” Librarians should curate resources in a manner in which the collection will target the needs of the teacher and the students (Valenza, 2017).
Technology is being implemented more and more in the classroom every year. I started with Edmodo six years ago, and I have continued to add new technology tools every year. I currently use Google Classroom because of the many websites that directly connect to it (e.g. NewsELA and ReadWorks). However, while I want to add to my digital tools, doing the legwork to find them can be challenging, and I just don’t have the time. That’s why I appreciated the Cool Tools for School website that has a comprehensive collection of digital tools categorized by purpose. The blog post by Farrington (2018) gives a good overview of the website and its purpose for helping educators find the right tools for them. As you explore the site, there are numerous tools that can be used for any content area. I was particularly drawn to the topic on digital storytelling. I have used some of the tools, but I would like to use the timeline tools for Social Studies.
Finally, Bell (2018) illustrates how curators need curating tools to put together their collection, which in and of itself can be overwhelming with the choices. In the end, just like any other resource that a teacher chooses, the tool must work for them and the user must feel comfortable using it. Otherwise it will be forgotten and useless. I have explored Diigo, but it didn’t really interest me enough to use it. I use Pinterest on a personal level to collect recipes, workouts, and ideas for the classroom. I used Blendspace for another class recently, and I liked how it brought all the different media for a lesson together in one place. This post was helpful in reviewing the different tools and providing ideas on how they could be used for the classroom.
I ended up choosing a curation tool from the Cool Tools for Schools website. As I scrolled through the options the one that stood out for me was elink. I have used some of the other options, and I wanted something new. I liked the fact that elink has the ability to be published as a newsletter (with the paid version) because I thought that would be helpful if I used it as a librarian. I could curate resources and then send it out to staff in a newsletter format. It was easy to use and the free version had adequate options. I decided to curate digital tools for student use, since I would find that helpful. I included the tools I have either personally used, or I have heard positive feedback about. I limited my collection to just a handful of tools because, as I mentioned before, sometimes too many resources can be difficult to navigate.
I really like the concept of curation. I feel that is the fundamental responsibility of a librarian: provide useful information for patrons.
Bell, K. (2018, April 2). 16 Curation tools for teachers and students [blog post]. Retrieved from https://shakeuplearning.com/blog/16-curation-tools-for-teachers-and-students/?ck_subscriber_id=117690518
Farrington, P. (2018, August 20). About cool tools for school [blog post] Retrieved from https://cooltoolsforschool.net/about/
Valenza, J. (2017, July 5). Curation Situations: Let us count the ways [blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2017/07/05/curation-situations-let-us-count-the-ways/